Skip, double skip - kids who learn too fast - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 28 Old 10-30-2009, 07:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We had our parent/teacher conference with DD (7 - 2nd grade)'s teacher last night. Basically, we knew everything she said, but she brought up something we've considered (but not pushed for) since Katie was in Kindy - skipping. She pretty much asked why we haven't skipped her yet. She said she felt skipping K would be totally appropriate, but.... she wasn't sure it would solve our problem.

She said that K would do great in 4th grade next year... but she'd also do well in 5th or 6th or 7th... she's just very bright and a super-fast learner. So, while we could skip her to a higher grade level, if she continued to learn concepts much more quickly than other kids, she'd still be ahead and at risk of becoming bored.

Anyone else's kiddo in this position? Would you go ahead and skip anyway, knowing it wouldn't likely solve the problem (but might help some)? Or would you keep things the way they are and try to supplement her learning at home? Or something else?

I seriously don't know what to do. I really don't think "do nothing" is the right strategy, though.

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#2 of 28 Old 10-30-2009, 09:08 PM
 
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Oh wow! Not an expert but my gut feeling would be to try skipping to 4th. If she needs another skip then she needs another skip. I would try to stay in the lower grades for social reasons (if that works for you) as long as possible so she has some time to adjust before pushing her even further ahead.

I would also really seek out some expert opinions on this since I think this could be one of those instances where having lots of top notch input would be very helpful.

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#3 of 28 Old 10-30-2009, 09:51 PM
 
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We are not in this situation yet and may not face it, but as someone who should have been skipped in the lower grades and had to wait until teens, please skip her. At least to the 4th. Supplementing is not the same.

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#4 of 28 Old 10-30-2009, 09:59 PM
 
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It is at least worth your time to have a meeting and discuss your options and how to handle your daughters education. I would certainly talk about skipping her a grade to begin with and have a plan in place for additional classroom enrichment as well.

Personally, I would take it a grade at a time. Of course realize that this advice is coming from someone who has skipped their son. My son is in 2nd grade this year after skipping first. There have been some challenges but I still feel we made the right decision for our child.

When we were trying to make our decision we got a copy of the "Iowa Acceleration Scale" through inter library loan. We ended up deciding that we didn't have enough test results to use the worksheets for our son. But we still found it to be a good resource and gave us alot to think about as we worked through our decision.

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#5 of 28 Old 10-30-2009, 10:10 PM
 
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DD has officially skipped one grade (we didn't start her in school until 2nd grade, so there was no actual skip). I think she could easily be another grade ahead, but am uncomfortable with it for social reasons. She is in a full time gifted program so is working 2-3 years ahead of kids the same age in the mainstream curriculum. I don't think that she needs more than one more year of skipping. Since she will go to junior high next year, we will deal with getting her in more difficult classes then.

If she needed to skip 4-5 grades to be challenged, we would be looking outside of the regular classroom for education. IMO, public schools cannot handle that type of acceleration well & I would be looking for early college entrance instead (so, in our position, I would be looking at homeschooling for a few years and then early college entrance). Does your district have any gifted resources available? I would not skip a child into a class that was not going to be a good academic match--- they you would have to deal with intense social issues (a 7-8 year old in junior high is not going to find social peers) AND a poor academic fit. It just doesn't seem to be a viable option to me.

If the teacher means, though, that she is performing in certain subjects at a 7th grade level, that is within "normal" in DS' class (he is in a 1st-2nd split). Last year there were at least a couple children reading at a 12th grade/early college level. Definately several kids in the 4th/5th grade range for math & science as well.

 

 

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#6 of 28 Old 10-31-2009, 08:36 AM
 
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I'll say ... in the new age of virtual schooling, home schooling becoming mainstream, colleges offering "dual enrollment" to home schoolers (e.g., part time college for gifted teens living at home) ... it's now easy to remove the social battering ram of school from the education, and replace it with a more "adult normal" form of social life where you see your friends outside of your work. What is the justification for not meeting kids where they are?

I'm thinking of people who don't want to accelerate because "what about when they're dating" etc.

Give her the best education you can get for her. Do it efficiently and don't force her to spend more time in the K-12 system than necessary. Deal with problems if they arise.
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#7 of 28 Old 10-31-2009, 04:09 PM
 
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I'v heard that skipping from elementary directly to high school is sometimes a good option for those who need multiskips. We are thinking dd needs at least 2 skips to work in regular class, the question is just timing. Maybe one next year...
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#8 of 28 Old 10-31-2009, 06:24 PM
 
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I'll say ... in the new age of virtual schooling, home schooling becoming mainstream, colleges offering "dual enrollment" to home schoolers (e.g., part time college for gifted teens living at home) ... it's now easy to remove the social battering ram of school from the education, and replace it with a more "adult normal" form of social life where you see your friends outside of your work. What is the justification for not meeting kids where they are?


This is pretty much what we've fallen into. "Adult normal" is really what my kids wanted for social life anyway. A combination of virtual schooling, home schooling, college courses, travel and mentoring seems to be working for my kids.

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#9 of 28 Old 11-01-2009, 04:49 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks everyone! This is all good stuff to ponder. I am going to have to try to summarize it for my DH, who is a PS teacher... he wants to do what is best for K, but has a strong "keep her with her age-mates and in PS" due to his background. I, on the other hand, would pack her up and travel around the world, homeschooling and distance-learning from the road, if it were solely up to me (and I had the budget to do so!)

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#10 of 28 Old 11-01-2009, 01:41 PM
 
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We use a Montessori school to deal with this. DS1 skipped kindergarten and was placed in a lower elementary classroom. After skipping a grade, he's working two grades above his official grade level in some subjects.
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#11 of 28 Old 11-01-2009, 07:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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If we were going to have DD evaluated further to figure out exactly where she needs to be, where would I start looking for resources to do that - does anyone know? Her school gave her a couple of assessments last year (her teacher basically snuck her in, with our permission, to be tested alongside last year's 2nd graders for the 3rd grade gifted program. DD was a 1st grader last year and scored very high for gifted a grade level above her then-current grade.) I'm wondering if, rather than testing her with kids a year above, she should be tested two or three years above, to see how she does? But I don't think the school would do that just because I asked them to, kwim? Are there services/counselors/etc who specialize in this kind of thing? How do you find them?

I"m trying not to get stressed, but DH keeps saying things like, "I just want her to be happy" and "she has lots of fun with her classmates"... which is true. But, long story short, I don't predict that will last much longer, due to my own experiences. I've asked her if she'd like to be learning more at school, and she says she would. I've asked her if she'd even be okay with learning at home and doing things with friends afterschool, and she said she would. She wants to learn more. But she doesn't want to disappoint daddy, and daddy's most fervent desire is that she would be "normal and happy". My most fervent desire is that she would be herself and be happy with that... and "normal" (aka, in DH's world, "average") just isn't who she is.

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#12 of 28 Old 11-01-2009, 08:31 PM
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Skip.

www.nationdeceived.org

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#13 of 28 Old 11-01-2009, 11:48 PM
 
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OK, I think I might be the lone voice of dissent in the group. As a grade skipper myself, I would ABSOLUTELY NOT skip 2 grades, I would only do 1 if it is early.

Let me start with so back history, I attended a private school that allowed me to learn at my own pace (i.e. I went into other higher grade classrooms for math, worked on my own projects for reading, etc). I started public school in 5th grade. I was already performing at an above high school level in most areas. My mom agreed to skip me one grade level, so I went straight into 7th. I had no academic problems, and I was OK socially because the gifted program kept the same group of 25 kids together for most of the day. My mother would not allow them to skip me additional grades.

I am actually glad. In high school, the differences started to show. My friends started driving, I was too young. Physically I was not developing at the same rate as my classmates. I was offered the chance to complete high school in 3 years, but my mom said that if I graduated at 15, I would have to live at home for the 1st 2 years and attend community college. I opted to do dual enrollment in high school, which turned out to be a very good plan.

If given the option with my children, I would not skip more than one grade. If they were that far advanced, I would home school in partnership with other gifted moms. However, the social part of schooling can be very detrimental to a child 2 years younger than her peers.

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#14 of 28 Old 11-02-2009, 04:15 AM
 
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Well if her PS teacher has recommended skipping within the PS system to you as parents, that should be good enough for your DH? And after, entry into the gifted program, which is in PS too I gather - what's not good enough for a PS teacher? (I am married to one too and he's had to revise his opinions about "happy" and "average" and gifted kids' needs a bit, particularly after having his own kid and realizing just how different his needs are from most other kids he sees.)

All those options may not be ideal and in a perfect world, the system would offer your daughter much more, but why not take advantage of the offers you have to the fullest?

Re: skipping two grades. I was skipped one grade and while it was a nightmare socially in elementary school, I realize now this was completely the fault of the teachers (and parents of other kids!) who really opposed the skip on principle but just did not know what to do with me in first grade. After moving into a high-ability track, it wasn't a problem any more - ever. (And the driving ...I was given a lot of lifts for a year, was all.) I have no experiences, first hand or with other kids, what skipping more than one grade would entail. I think I'd try just one skip and then try out the gifted rpogram.

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#15 of 28 Old 11-02-2009, 04:26 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Tigerle, we could definitely look at doing a skip and the gifted program in combination. He's not really against either per se, he's just hesitant about everything. DD's current school district doesn't have much of a gifted program. It *says* it has one, but in effect, it's totally up to the classroom teachers whether or not they want to do anything with it. To move her to a separate classroom gifted program, we'd have to change districts, which, fortunately, we could do because DH teaches in a district that has a separate gifted classroom. It'll require making sure we have a ton of supporting evidence, but it's possible, I think.

I guess I really lean towards HSing her for a while and then looking into early college admittance. However, DH isn't on board with that at all, and doing a skip/gifted program combo might be an alternative we could all live with.

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#16 of 28 Old 11-03-2009, 01:09 PM
 
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OK, I think I might be the lone voice of dissent in the group. As a grade skipper myself, I would ABSOLUTELY NOT skip 2 grades, I would only do 1 if it is early.
Thanks for the information and the background. We had DS1's parent-teacher conference yesterday and ended up discussing additional grade-skipping for him. After some discussion, the general opinion was "No," but only because it would be too hard socially for a 7 year old to go to the 4th grade. I feel sort of bad about it, because I think he's a little bored.

Your story helps me. Listening to your experience, I think holding him back for social reasons is a good decision. He's young socially for his age, much less for an older class.

The social/academic mismatch is how we ended up in a Montessori school in the first place. Our school district doesn't grade skip. Our idea was that if he can't work forward in the curriculum (ie. work at a higher grade level), he could work "out" in a curriculum (more art and science, which he loves).
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#17 of 28 Old 11-03-2009, 11:56 PM
 
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Sorry, I'm late the thread..
AahRee, have you checked out www.davidsongifted.org? The young scholar program might be something to look into.

Our daughter was similarly several grades ahead. We really didn't see how our local public elementary school was going to work for her. I know that some places are flexible enough to make it work, but we didn't see that here. Although we hadn't planned on it, we started homeschooling when she was 5 1/2. It has been great for her. She has recently wanted more interaction (with academics, she has a ton of social friends) so she has started part-time at a charter high school. She loves her classes there and is at the top of her classes despite being 3-6 years younger. She feels very socially comfortable at school but has kept her friends from outside of school as her main peer group. We foresee a mixture of homeschooling, high school, dual enrollment college, travel, and time for creative pursuits getting her to near college age before she goes away for school.
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#18 of 28 Old 11-04-2009, 03:19 PM
 
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Your story helps me. Listening to your experience, I think holding him back for social reasons is a good decision. He's young socially for his age, much less for an older class.

The social/academic mismatch is how we ended up in a Montessori school in the first place. Our school district doesn't grade skip. Our idea was that if he can't work forward in the curriculum (ie. work at a higher grade level), he could work "out" in a curriculum (more art and science, which he loves).

Even after skipping and Gifted programs I was bored. You might want to try some additional homeschool projects or talking to his teachers about alternative assignments. My mom was able to work it out by utting it this way. Anj is already working far above grade level in this subject. She tends to be disruptive when she gets bored. I would like to provide her with alternative challenges to keep her from being disruptive in your class.

She then made up workbooks for my subjects with additional work. When I had finished my techer's assignment, I could go to the workbook and get something more interesting out.


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#19 of 28 Old 11-08-2009, 09:59 PM
 
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As an educator who regularly sees students performing above and below grade level - sometimes significantly above and below - I would caution against EVER using these scores to justify or validate a decision to skip a child ahead of his or her peers. The reality is that children are far more comfortable with same-age peers. Once the decision is made to skip a child ahead - often experimentally - that child never catches up socially and spends an entire school career as an outsider.

That said, when a child who is truly bored in school at their grade level to the point where little real learning is taking place, skipping can certainly be considered. I don't oppose the decision to skip a child ahead if all indications point to it as a necessity. But using any single criteria such as standardized test scores to skip a child to another grade can end up being a regrettable mistake that has a negative impact on your child for years to come.

In the end, it is of paramount importance that you reflect carefully on your reasons for considering the skip. There are very few good reasons to make your child have to grow up faster than he or she already does. Childhood in-and-of itself has value that you can't measure in a test score.

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#20 of 28 Old 11-08-2009, 10:30 PM
 
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We use a Montessori school to deal with this. DS1 skipped kindergarten and was placed in a lower elementary classroom. After skipping a grade, he's working two grades above his official grade level in some subjects.
This is something to consider. The teachers are used to accommodating children on many different levels and the children are used to being in class with a span of ages. Our daughter is just one or two years ahead, but it has made a world of difference for her to move from a regular public school to a public Montessori school.
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#21 of 28 Old 11-08-2009, 11:07 PM
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As an educator who regularly sees students performing above and below grade level - sometimes significantly above and below - I would caution against EVER using these scores to justify or validate a decision to skip a child ahead of his or her peers. The reality is that children are far more comfortable with same-age peers. Once the decision is made to skip a child ahead - often experimentally - that child never catches up socially and spends an entire school career as an outsider.
I'm a teacher, too, and a mom of child who skipped a grade. My experience (and what I've read) is that children have a much easier time making friends with kids who are their mental age, rather than with those who are merely their chronological age.

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#22 of 28 Old 11-09-2009, 10:54 AM
 
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Skip?
http://www.davidsongifted.org/db/bro...icles_164.aspx

Skip?
Radical acceleration and early entry to college: A review of the research
Gross, M. & Van Vliet, H.
Gifted Child Quarterly
National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC), Vol. 49, No. 2, Spring 2005
http://www.davidsongifted.org/db/Articles_id_10349.aspx

"Do accelerated students regret their acceleration in later years? SMPY has published findings of four key longitudinal studies, undertaken over the course of between 10 and 20 years, investigating long-term outcomes of various types of acceleration. A 10-year study surveyed 320 young people who were identified as being in the top 1 in 10,000 of their age peers in terms of mathematical or verbal reasoning regarding their satisfaction with the type and amount of acceleration they had received (Lubinski et al., 2001). More than 50% of these young people, who were in their 20s at the time of the study, had taken college courses when still at high school. Fully 70% expressed satisfaction with the degree of acceleration they had undertaken, and of those who, in retrospect, said they would alter things if they had their time again, the majority stated that they would accelerate even more!"

Skip?
http://www.hoagiesgifted.org/highly_gifted.htm

While the individual anecdotes @ MDC are interesting, you should also seriously consider the results of long-term, longitudinal studies and other research projects, especially those that specifically address the "social" concerns raised by some.

Read the stories at A Nation Deceived.
Utilize the Iowa Acceleration Scale.
Read & Re-read the scholarly works.

Give your child the benefit of extensive research on the subject and then decide.

Is skipping for everyone? Not necessarily. But do some more in-depth reading before you decide.
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#23 of 28 Old 11-09-2009, 08:44 PM
 
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The whole "grade skip" thing is a hard call. I agree with doing the research, as previously suggested. That said, downplaying the "individual anectodes" [emphasis in original] we hear on the board is troubling, too. After all, what good to you are studies that suggest that grade skipping is generally highly beneficial if it happens to be really detrimental for your son or daughter? Alternatively, there can be really negative consequences (well documented in some of the studies) to leaving kids bored and not skipping as well. It's hard to know what to do.

I know that many posters here have had a wonderful experience with being grade-skipped -- I did not. My mother (who was a teacher) made the decision, and we both agree in hindsight that it was a mistake. Don't get me wrong -- my mother made the best decision she could with the information available to her at the time, and I don't fault her at all. It was very difficult being much younger than my classmates, for me, especially when things like driving and dating were on the table. The grade skip didn't help me much in terms of challenging academics, and I could have used the additional social skills of staying with my same-age peers when I was a kid. That said, how are you (as a parent) supposed to know in the moment? It's a really, really hard choice. At the end of the day, I'm not sure either decision would have much affected my adult life, except my (unnecessary, in my view) experience of a socially rough childhood.
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#24 of 28 Old 11-09-2009, 09:17 PM
 
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The whole "grade skip" thing is a hard call. I agree with doing the research, as previously suggested. That said, downplaying the "individual anecodes" [emphasis in original] we hear on the board is troubling, too. After all, what good to you are studies that suggest that grade skipping is generally highly beneficial if it happens to be really detrimental for your son or daughter? Alternatively, there can be really negative consequences (well documented in some of the studies) to leaving kids bored and not skipping as well. It's hard to know what to do.
I completely agree with not downplaying the individual anecdotes, but rather consider them to be part of the overall research project each parent must tackle when making such a decision. In fact, at the website for A Nation Deceived, there are hundreds+ anecdotes from students, parents & teachers that provide some very thought-provoking insight into the decision -- and not all of them are in favor of gradeskipping.
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#25 of 28 Old 11-10-2009, 12:30 AM
 
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The reality is that children are far more comfortable with same-age peers. .
Some are. Some aren't. Our child has been happiest socially with a mix of people in his life. The people's gotten along with best have never been the same chronological age.
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#26 of 28 Old 11-10-2009, 12:39 AM
 
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There's a boy in my son's class who could most definitely be skipped and is certainly in the gifted category. They bumped him and 4 other boys (including my son) into a grade 1/2 split, and they keep this boy stimulated through peer tutoring. That way he is getting extra work and a challenge, and yet is still with his peer group for the most part. He can also listen in and participate in the grade 2 classes, and the teacher combines spelling tests for example, so they get bonus marks for doing the grade 2 work. I think it's great for their self esteem, and doesn't pressure them to act more mature socially than they're ready for. My son is socially much more mature than most kids his age (grade 1), which is why he was bumped too, but academically he's performing right where he should be for his age level. His friend who is gifted has really enjoyed peer tutoring him... Win win.
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#27 of 28 Old 11-10-2009, 02:51 AM
 
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i will give you my experience on skipping and social interaction.
i skipped 1st grade, then 3rd grade and finally 8th grade.
i was developmentally behind my peers, yes. i never had an issue socially as we were always on the same intellectual level. i ended up in a self study program in high school and graduated as soon as legally possible at 15.5 with half my college credits already done.

if i had been given the opportunity i would have vastly preferred homeschool, i think i would have thrived much more in that environment.
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#28 of 28 Old 11-10-2009, 11:20 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Noah's mommy View Post
As an educator who regularly sees students performing above and below grade level - sometimes significantly above and below - I would caution against EVER using these scores to justify or validate a decision to skip a child ahead of his or her peers. The reality is that children are far more comfortable with same-age peers. Once the decision is made to skip a child ahead - often experimentally - that child never catches up socially and spends an entire school career as an outsider.
Wow, I'm very surprised you have come to this conclusion. I wonder if you have considered that in the US, the children most likely to get any kind of skip are the children who are so far ahead that they are likely to significantly click with only other very highly to profoundly gifted people of any age, and the skip has nothing to do with it.

But for most people the research shows it is beneficial. In instances where the child does suffer socially, it still may be beneficial long term because the faster they get to uni the faster they will enjoy a wide social circle.

In other words, you're making a leap to say that these kids would have enjoyed popularity with the masses had they stayed in their age-grade.

Home schooling is a much easier choice IMO for the HG/PG.

As to being an "outsider," I was a "normal" despite being HG in school, I was still a "normal" but perhaps better admired when I accelerated a grade by taking credits outside normal school hours in high school, and the fact that I was not invited to each and every drunkfest of the popular clique does not bother me one bit. As far as I can tell, being a popular is something that one might survive well, but leads one to many stupid and dangerous activities and is irrelevant to having a future college and adult satisfying social life.
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